tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS March 25, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm PDT
issue one, gaddafi grounded! >> today i authorized the armed forces of the united states to begin a limited military action in libya in support of an international effort to protect libyan civilians. that action has now begun. >> an international effort to protect libyan civilians from the forces of colonel moammar gaddafi. that international effort is a no-fly zone over libyan airspace, intended to protect libyan civilians from bombings by gaddafi's air force. the united nations security council last thursday authorized a no-fly zone in resolution 1973. the resolution emphasis is clear -- save libyan civilian lives. "grave concern at the heavy civilian casualties, insure the protection of civilians, a complete end to violence
against civilians, protect civilians and civilian populated areas, protect civilians." 10 security councilmembers voted yes on the resolution. u.s., u.k., france, bosnia- herzegovina, columbia, garr bon, lebanon, nigeria, portugal, south africa. five members abstained -- russia, china, germany, brazil, india. the 10 votes was just one more than the nine needed for passage. and it did not include input from the 192-member united nations general assembly. but international support for the no-fly zone is now waning. the libyan government is alleging that coalition bombings have killed many civilians. doctors on the ground say over 100 civilians have died. military deaths not included. the 22-member arab league this
week accused the u.s. and the coalition of ignoring the u.n. >> as far as we're concerned the arab league, we requested the security council to establish a no-fly zone in order to protect the civilians, in addition to safe areas for the civilians to sit in without attacks on them. >> brazil, russia, india and china, the bric nations, are all calling for an immediate cessation of the no-fly zone. u.s. defense secretary robert gates says it's gaddafi that is stained with civilian blood. >> it's perfectly evident that the vast majority if not nearly all civilian casualties have been inflicted by gaddafi. >> question, if this nato-led no-fly zone does not remove gaddafi, will the u.s. be forced to put boots on the ground? >> if you talk about marines, no. army perhaps to, no. you may get some special advisors in there, john. but here's what is happening
now. the no-fly zone has been established, give's air force does not exist. his airfields don't really exist anymore. what is happened is the europeans will take over the no- fly zone. but the americans are engaged in an area war to help the rebels, and we're now moving to where the american airpower missile power is firing at libyan tanks and libyan troop concentrations. we're firing missiles into the compound of gaddafi, in tripoli. so what is going on is america is conducting its own air war and basically the objective is e to destroy, degrade, damage and demoralize the libyan army to the point where it turns around and gets rid of ddafi. we're not going to put troops on the ground, but if this doesn't work, john, i think president obama has a real problem because his problem is this -- he didn't get the authorization from congress. he got it from the security council but not from the american congress.
and right now a lot of people are bailing on him, john. >> he can't declare war without the -- without the congress. he cannot -- he has no power to declare war. >> libya did not attack us, and it did 249 threaten us. in that case he has no power to go to war until authorized by congress or declared by congress. >> let's hear the law. the war powers act was a revolved by congress that nen 73. 37 years ago. after u.s. involvement ended in vietnam. the ability calls on the president to notify congress when u.s. troops are in combat situations and to withdraw them within 60 days of the notification unless both houses of congress declare war. otherwise, or otherwise appear the use of force. >> that's only the in case that americans are attacked, or the enemy threatened. if there's no threat or attack you've got to go to congress under the constitution. >> so he is in violation of the constitution? >> the constitution of the united states. >> you think he should be impeach. >> no, i don't think so.
>> why? if the president is violating the founding document of our country -- >> because i don't think we ought to do that right now. but what it be impeachable offense? nixon bombed cambodia. >> he had resign to get out and had nothing to do with that. >> how much trouble is -- is obama in any trouble? >> no, the congressional objections are a sideshow. they don't want responsibility for this, they just want the right to complain and that's what they have if it turns out badly, they'll complain. they're not -- he has done plenty enough consulting with congress, he's well within the law. but your original question about ground troops, president could have done a better job explains what he was doing. i still doesn't understand how basically a movement candidate who built such a phenomenal campaign of public support has
failed to build public for for any policies from health care e to participating in a humanitarian intervention in libya. and there was an overwhelming case that there was going to be massive slaughter by gaddafi, in benghazi finish the white house didn't act in concert with the other nations. but the quote they leaked is that the president said no american boot will touch a grain of libyan sand. maybe the french will go in with ground troops. it's not this president's job. but there are other tools that are not military, including the $35 billion that he has in one place that will be frozen. there are some financial incentives for him to bail out. >> you think he's violating the constitution. how much trouble is he in? is he in any trouble. >> no, i don't think he's in any immediate constitutional trouble. the founders afforded the commander in chief enormous discretion to assign military
forces to combat zones. you've got 535 members of congress. they cannot act with dispatch. war powers act, every president since nixon has treated as unconstitutional, including this one. he does have enormous leeway. the problem here is that he is committed us to the military operation in libya. libya is essentially a sideshow. there are no american interests involved in libya. now we have humanitarian and geopolitical crises in iran, syria, bahrain and yemen. those places actually are strategically important to the united states, and what will happen here is that the president has sent this precedent but now he will fall back behind the u.n., behind the congress, behind nato and say, gosh, i'd love to intervene in all these important places, but i just can't get the coalition to do it. >> richard? >> well, look, he's not in trouble now, but he might be. so he needs to get yuck lucky.
the big problem is that the u.s.-led mission and the stated goal is not u.s. policy, to get rid of gaddafi. but the no-fly zone is not a problem. that's under nato. but the nato has 28 members, including turkey, and turkey has -- is extremely concerned. this is why the negotiations were held up on the other night, about libyan civilians being killed. so you want to attack the libyan army. but the libyan army ruling in libyan cities. you're going to kill civilians. then the coalition will fall apart. >> then the direct and repeated emphasis of the u.n. was don't take civilian lives. and prevent civilians from being killed. >> john, that's why -- they didn't say you can -- it's okay to kill forces. >> that's why they separated it, john. the no-fly zone is nato. and they're not going to kill civilians. they're go to protect civilians. and there's another war -- >> civilians on his side, non-
military? of course he does! >> here's why -- look, the no- fly zone is nato, but the other part of the war which the americans will run is 5the attacking and killing of his army. [everyone talking at once] >> americans are going to run. that they're running it for the moment. but they're transferring that power as well. >> the key question is whether we stop attacking. if we do, we lose the war. >> they're a tagging gaddafi's tanks and i think one of the -- tanks, one of u.s. general said if gaddafi's troops are -- if they're taking a tank, they will not take it to tripoli. >> one of really strange, almost fright owning parts is that 25 years ago, we had a replay of the libya conflict with ronald reagan. here's ronald reagan, who faced exactly the same hostile setting that president will
respond. self-defense is not only our right, it's our duty. >> pat, you were there when raking on. >> i wrote the speech. the final -- >> give me thing with and show mow how -- what is going on today. >> it's different for this meaning. we were attacked at the discotheque. >> in berlin. >> berlin. they killed american soldiers and wounded about 50 of them. this was a response for what they did, a single action by oregon in response. this comes under the war powers act, i think. no doubt about it. but this is a different thing obama is doing. he is going after a nation that didn't attack us and didn't threatening us, in a civil war, and he attacked it! >> he's also killing civilians. >> and he's killing -- >> gates is laying excuses over
killing more -- [everyone talking at once] >> no right to kill! >> hold it! >> let him finish! >> you've got no right to kill libya's soldiers. what are they doing, defending their country and putting down an insurgency of a government they're not known firm they have a -- ledge matted right to do that. >> going after the libyan army is part of the u.n. resolution. yoyomay disagree with it but it's within -- >> if they took civilians 92 when you're bombing from above. >> do you -- do you just separate out what was about to happen in benghazi and just sit aside and let that -- let that occur? >> there's no talk that -- that present to gaddafi to split it by some of his own friends. >> you act like. >> and have the east go to gaddafi, the west to gaddafi. after he gets -- maybe [everyone talking at once] >> you act like this is the first time we've ever had a no-
fly zone. we've done if in kosovo, iraq, we caged saddam hussein. there's a possibility -- >> should under what a no-fly zone is. no fly means the enemies cannot -- the case of gaddafi, he cannot fly, but we can fly. that's what no-fly means. it doesn't mean we can't fly. it means the enemy can't fly. that's what obama wants. that's what he has got. >> it's not the first time that the u.s. has done that. we've done that in bosnia, in kosovo, in iraq. >> and hillary clinton said it never worked. [everyone talking at once] >> go ahead. >> by the way, we've done these no-fly zones over the former yugoslavia, iraq. it doesn't necessarily prevent the kind of humanitarian slaughter that we're trying to prevent here. two differences between reagan and obama. number one, american ready. reagan didn't wait for international stamp of approval to move. and number two, with reagan, there was a clear mission, a
clear strategy, and clear american presidential leadership. we've had none of that in this case. >> that was before 9/11. >> it doesn't matter! you can argue -- >> all right, all right. somebody -- let me move in. >> need leadership. >> you don't need leadership! [everyone talking at once] >> quickly. >> you don't need leadership that goes into a muslim country all alone. this was an international coalition, post-9/11, and post- george w. bush era, where we created a war in iraq that was unnecessary and left in utter results. [everyone talking at once] >> okay. one well-known member of congress raised the question of whether or not obama has committed an impeachable offense who was that. >> dennis kucinich. >> what is his argument about this being a possibility? >> notice how many -- >> hold on.
>> line up with dennis kucinich, zero! >> really made his case. >> here's the reasoning. >> he doesn't have a case! >> that's right. >> he's saying the question should be raised. >> here's the case. congress alone has the power to declare war or authorize war in the constitution. >> is this war? >> if you attack a country and kill its soldiers, those are acts -- and gets said these are acts of war. >> what do you think about this? >> do you accept gaddafi says it's americans killing civilians. >> if he's going to be impeached as a newcomer, impreached, it's a low bar. but is it war? you can talk about war or is the -- kennett eck clash of some kind? that's just system attics. obviously, it's war. as pat said, robert gates said it when trying to talk e president out of it. >> you can -- let's put that to the test. what are the odds zero to 100
that obama will be impeached? >> zero. >> zero. >> over this? zero. issue two, hot rods. >> the bottom line is that there clearly appears to be a challenge keeping that spent fuel filled with sufficient water. >> japan's nuclear reactors at fukashima dai-ichi continue this week to produce dangerous levels of railed agrees. exposed nuclear fuel rods emit radiation unless they are submerged. so workers are trying to contain the radiation by covering the expose ode fuel rods with water. japan's nuclear crisis has renewed a debate in the u.s. over what to do with spent nuclear fuel rods. currently, 145 million pounds every spent fuel is stored at 77 locations in the u.s., and
44 million pounds of additional spent fuel is added every year. this spent fuel is stored in tanks and most of the tanks are located right next to the nuclear reactors. the regulatory commission says that the system dealing with spent nuclear fuel is okay. >> right now we believe that spent fuel certainly can be stored safely and securely with the existing system. >> many americans want a single repository in a far-away place for the rods to be housed. but three decades the u.s. congress funded research on what to do with the rods. $13.5billion was spent on research. repeat, $13.5 billion on research! one burial site was final chosen, yucca mountain, a former salt mine in southwest nevada. in 2009, two years ago, after more than two decades of research, president obama
decided to cut funding for yucca mountain as a nuclear repository site. reportedly, he made his decision at the urging of nevada's democratic senator and leader, harry reid. question, what was president obama's primary motivation and knicksing the yucca mountain repository? science or politics to boost harry reid a re-election prospects last year which he survived? >> there may be a political component, but yucca mountain is so yesterday. the space there is too small to accommodate all of the accumulated civil and defense department nuclear waste. so it's outdated. it's been overtaken. and i think the bigger problems facing the nuclear industry and the u.s. is to create and find places to build these pools of
water that can hold the spent fuel rods while they cool down to the point where they can be transported and moved into those big caskets. if you keep it right next to the reactors,or you don't have to take it for. >> now would you get them in. >> train, truck. >> by train or truck? what happens -- [everyone talking at once] >> there's a lot of concern that if you transport this kind of nuclear material across state lines over long distances you could have an single nation repository for this kind of stuff. the problem is that in keeping it in the nuclear power plants, in these kind of casks, problem is that these plants weren't made to store the wasted fuel rods. and so what do do you with them? they can't exist for too much longer and we don't have a national depository. >> has financial times editorialized on this subject?
>> they haven't. if the u.s. can't find a place to do it, lots of ithers countries will. france, for example, which runs a commercial operation doing this -- a number of sites. if the u.s. turns its back on nuclear power, china, japan and south korea won't. so this -- this is -- >> what will we do with the rods. >> what the french do it's a process of breaking it down and glassflying it and storing it. they're taking it from other countries and making money off doing it. >> you know so much about it, did you hear the science that you got from eleanor, namely, that this yucca mountain is not big enough to sustain it? it lacks the size. is that what you said? >> that's right. >> you have any knowledge that? >> we heard -- regulatory headset. >> lets assume it's true. i think the french have the answer to the problem and the americans won't adopt it. >> what do we do with thehe$13.
billion we researched for yucca mountain? >> same politics behind this, john. >> i think we have to do with what -- the french are doing, and the brits, and that is they recycle this fuel so they get more than one use out of it. and so it doesn't have to be destroyed. but the waste -- continuing problem. >> we all agree that president obama is not going to restore yucca mountain to its original status. these rods will stay next to the nuclear plants as issue three, the odd couple. >> we don't always see eye to eye, do we, newt. >> no. but we do agree, our country must take action to address climate change. >> that was former republican house speaker newt gingrich, democratic house speaker nancy pelosi three years ago. they were talking about climate change. but gingrich is now a likely republican candidate for president. and an unlikely to pledge
support for climate changes demand for green energy. that's because of the political power of the tea party, it is said. the tea partied has emerged as the unofficial force of the republican party. sitting to my right, washington bureau chief richard mcgregor point that out on tuesday. "the rise of tea party activists as the king makers and republican primaries has added an extra level of calculation for obama's opponent." g.o.p. hopefuls are already looking for how to get rid of their moderate political baggage. item, former minnesota governor tim pawlenty. he supported cap and trade. item, former house speaker newt gingrich. supported action to combat climate change. item, former massachusetts governor mitt romney. he passed a state health insurance reform law that some
believe mirrors elements of obama care. tea party patriarchs founder mark meckler is convinced that the g.o.p. 2012 candidate will have to pass the tea party test. >> the american people will identify with that's right party values, it's an acknowledgement they have to connect with the tea party. if they don't, they don't have a chance. >> is that a bum wrap against romney, there's federal funding or something wrong with his massachusetts plan that will inhibits a big turnout for him? you have read romney's book ere he explains in detail for about 10 pages what the massachusetts health plan is that he introduced? >> i haven't read the book but i don't think you need to in the political debate because he's been pinged already so such so that hess backing away from it. >> you made trade off the error? >> they doesn't try to explain what his policy was. he says it was different and let's move on. he doesn't want to own his own policy so i don't ésee why he wants to explain it. >> why doesn't he just pick up
the language and memorize it. >> because republicans hate it. it's a subset of obama care so he doesn't want to more it. >> who looks the cleanest to you, as far as tea party in vulnerability is concerned? >> maybe michelle bachman but she is the least candidate so that's the problem because she -- she is -- the tea party loves her but she's not something the republicans would want as a candidate. force portion to each other. >> she is sarah palin are both tremendously acceptable to the tea party but aren't seen as a president because they haven't gotten there yet. >> why? >> romney is seen as president. >> like donald trump's name is out there? >> it's not celebrity status. it means the threshold -- what ronald reagan had to reach in the debate where people saw him as a president. >> not serious candidates. >> did you see donald trump screaming on the view?
where is the birth certificate of barack obama? that is great appeal tea party folks. >> this is the price of purity. if you want a birther or michelle bachman or sarah palin, tell me the months and date and the year where they will achieve that level, will they be seen as presidential candidates? i don't think that's coming, pat. >> you need the generals to support your candidates. >> yes but if you elect a candidate -- nominate a candidate that the tea party loves, that is someone that cannot win a national election. tea party -- excuse me! excuse me! tea party. >> the people can win certain districts, but and certain states but they cannot win a national election. and. >> what we saw in the democrats -- [everyone talking at once] >> have a chance of taking back the house because they need to recapture 25 votes and there are at least 25 tea party freshmen who are not ready.
>> it's not happening if the government keeps spending like this, that tea party movement will only accelerate. and all of the top tier republican candidates are facing enormous pressure from the tea party, and they're going to have to change their poin libyby now we yes or no, u.s. boots will be on the ground in libya? >> no marines to shores of tripoli this time. >> no? >> no. >> no. >> yes, but hopefully after gaddafi is gone. >> okay. >> after gaddafi is gone? >> yes. >> peace keeping. >> interestin